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Coventry and Oxford set to be UK’s first all-electric bus cities

Coventry and Oxford are developing proposals to become the first parts of the UK to run all-electric bus services, says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The cities are developing business cases in an England-wide competition to switch an entire town or city’s bus fleet to electric vehicles.

Subject to successful business cases, each area could be awarded up to £50m to not only replace its entire fleet of buses with all-electric versions, but to also install new infrastructure, such as charging stations, and pay for electric grid updates.

The UK government will work with the two local authorities to finalise their business cases over the coming weeks.

The government says it received 19 bids from across England to become the first all-electric bus town or city. Applicants were required to:

  • demonstrate buy-in from stakeholders in their local areas
  • outline existing plans to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality
  • show how the plan would tackle an existing air quality problem.

The change to a cleaner and greener bus fleet will help improve air quality and reduce emissions, helping further deliver on the government’s efforts to decarbonise the transport network, as well as support local businesses and jobs in the UK developing green buses.

Shapps says: “As we build back greener from Covid-19, we can provide people with more environmentally-friendly transport and cleaner air.

“Coventry and Oxford could soon be at the forefront of our plans for a new era of bus services, helping us develop the green transport network of the future and support jobs right here in the UK.”

The all-electric bus towns and cities competition is part of a wider package of measures to improve services and make bus journeys greener, easier and more reliable.

In February 2020 the UK government announced £5bn for a “new golden era” for buses and active travel. The UK’s first-ever long-term bus strategy will be launched in the coming months to ensure buses are prioritised into the future.